Well first off, it’s not a new feature. Back in early September I noticed that on iOS 6 beta, the multitouch was working a bit different than I remembered on my iPhone 4S. Today with the announcement of the iPad mini, Apple actually brings up the change when discussing the thinner bezels:
Rethinking the screen meant we also had to rethink the software behind it. iPad mini intelligently recognizes whether your thumb is simply resting on the display or whether you’re intentionally interacting with it. It’s the kind of detail you’ll notice — by not noticing it. And it’s a great example of how Apple hardware and software work together to give you the best experience possible.
Couple things I’d like to clarify that I think some other missed when discussing this feature:
1. This isn’t an iPad mini feature, but an iOS 6 feature. That’s why I noticed this on my 4S with the iOS 6 beta back in September.
2. It’s not “ignoring the thumb on the side of the screen”, but actually recognizing more touches on the screen. Before iOS 6, once the first finger touched the screen, all other inputs would be ignored. So a thumb on the side of the screen would almost be acting as a screen lock. With iOS 6, your devices can detect 2+ (I’ve tried up to 4 fingers on my iPhone 5) touches at the same time. Keep in mind, I’m not referring to the special multitouch gestures, such as pinch to zoom which has always used 2 fingers, but just regular non-gesture touches. As you can see in my YouTube video from September at the top of this post, I’m actually able to move one finger up on the screen and then move it down with the other, without every lifting either finger off the screen.
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